Overseas sheep shearers given special concession to enter UK

International shearers will be able to travel to the UK between 1 April and 30 June
International shearers will be able to travel to the UK between 1 April and 30 June

Sheep shearers from overseas have been granted a special concession to be able to enter the United Kingdom this year.

The move opens the door for international shearers to assist the national effort in getting UK sheep shorn.

Non-visa nationals will be able to travel to the UK, particularly shearers coming from Australia and New Zealand, between 1 April and 30 June.

All those entering will only be allowed to stay for a three month maximum period, after which they are required to leave.

The National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) welcomed the news, saying the move would offer a 'vital source' of professional staff to assist UK contractors.

Jill Hewitt, NAAC chief executive said: “It is a big relief that the concession is now in place and we can start putting together the necessary paperwork for shearers to safely enter the UK.

"It will inevitably be a slower year; farmers are encouraged to get in touch with their shearers early to plan work, and make certain everyone collaborates so that shearing can run as smoothly as possible."

The NAAC has published a Covid Shearing Checklist to ensure that shearers, wool handlers and farmers operate safely and to high standards of animal welfare this season.

It lists a checklist of actions, such as ensuring that personnel must not be present at shearing if showing Covid symptoms, and they must follow guidance on self-isolating.

All personnel must also maintain a minimum of 2m separation wherever possible and use the minimum number of people to undertake the job.

And where possible, sheep should be shorn outside or in a building with good air flow.